MINNESOTA – Seeking to bridge the gap between different faiths, the Minnesota Muslim community will be holding a special event to receive questions from the public fearing that asking questions might offend their Muslim neighbors.
“We have a long-held belief that if you have a question of your Muslim neighbors, you should ask your Muslim neighbors,” Jeremy Ringsmuth, from UniteCloud no-profit group, told SCTimes on Saturday.
“Minnesota Nice” sometimes means Minnesotans don’t ask uncomfortable questions, preferring to remain uninformed than to offend someone.
This attitude kept Central Minnesota’s Muslim and non-Muslim communities apart.
To change this, UniteCloud is hosting an event on Monday at First United Methodist Church of the St. Cloud Region in Sartell.
The event, titled “I don’t mean to offend you, but … “, would welcomed people to ask these uncomfortable questions.
Panelists will discuss how Islam has affected their lives personally and professionally.
Ringsmuth said organizers are prepared for people who may come with anti-Muslim messages or people who seek to disrupt the event.
“I would hope that they are just as respectful as we were when we have gone into anti-Muslim events,” Ringsmuth said.
“I would hope that the same respect would be given to our event. We never desired to shut an event down or talk over the speakers.”
The nonprofit is also launching Central Minnesota Green Card Voices in January, a traveling exhibit that tells the stories of 19 first-generation immigrants and refugees from nine countries who call Central Minnesota home.
“If you have a relationship with a refugee or an immigrant neighbor, you’re less likely to be fearful,” Ringsmuth said.